While we were in Paris this Summer I fell in love with macarons. Specifically, I fell in love with salted caramel macarons. A trip to Laduree, the famous bakery on rue Royale, is a must for anyone visiting Paris.
|Photo courtesy of LadyMacaron20ten|
What was it about these salted caramel macarons that had me swooning? I think it was the richness of the filling against the crunchy airiness of the cookies. It was the combination of the sweetness of the caramel with the hint of flaked salt that startled the taste buds but made sense; a ying and yang that worked in the best possible way.
While in the airport on my way home from Vermont recently, I picked up the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. It seems that Ina Garten has a new cookbook coming out at the end of October. It is called The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.
One of the recipes that was featured in the magazine was Ina’s Salted Caramel Brownies from her new cookbook. I knew I had to try it. Those salted caramel macarons were still fresh in my mind and to be honest with you, I haven’t worked up the courage to tackle them. Brownies I can handle.
They did not disappoint. The chocolate was rich with just a hint of coffee and the caramel tasted just right with the flakes of sea salt. They are dangerously decadent and my love for the combination of caramel and salt was satisfied. Now I need to experiment with macarons.
SALTED CARAMEL BROWNIES (Barefoot Contessa Foolproof)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces plus 6 ounces Hershey’s semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce, such as Fran’s
2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x12x1 1/2-inch baking pan.
Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. (It is very important to allow the butter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.)
In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt. Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.